Saskatchewan residents who want to become firefighters will soon be able to train in their home province again as applications open for National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) training, starting in July at Parkland College in Melville.
The Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency, the Ministry of Advanced Education and the Ministry of Immigration and Career Training will make a combined investment of $1.8 million in the college's firefighting training program in 2023-24.
Parkland College’s firefighter training program has been on hold since 2021, due in part to the COVID pandemic. Since the closure, Saskatchewan residents wanting to become professional firefighters have been forced to seek certification in neighbouring provinces instead.
Christine Tell, Saskatchewan’s Minister of Corrections, Policing, and Public Safety, said the collaboration between Parkland College and the Province of Saskatchewan would address the demand for all types of firefighters — including professional, industrial, and volunteer positions.
"Our government is committed to ensuring people can train for and build a rewarding firefighting career right here in Saskatchewan. I encourage residents to consider applying and spread the word about this great opportunity," said Gordon Wyant, Advanced Education Minister.
"This combined investment will support Parkland College in delivering quality education and training, ultimately ensuring a supply of firefighters to help keep our communities safe."
The funding includes investments of:
- $1.33 million in one-time funding from the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency for the purchase of training equipment;
- up to $250,000 in annual funding from the Ministry of Immigration and Career Training to deliver firefighter training programs, and;
- up to $210,000 in Capital Grant funding in 2023-24 from the Ministry of Advanced Education for fixed, on-location capital assets.
Alison Dubreuil, interim president and CEO of Parkland and Cumberland Colleges, said the organization is pleased with the provincial government’s endorsement of their status as Saskatchewan’s firefighting training centre.
"This investment and strategic partnership with the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency will provide sustainability in delivering emergency services training to meet community and industry needs across this province," Dubreuil added.
The provincial firefighting training centre in Melville will accommodate between 18 and 24 students per cohort for those interested in becoming professional firefighters.
The NFPA Standard 1001 program will be the first training offered, with additional professional, industrial, and volunteer firefighting training programs beginning this fall.
More information on the program is available from parklandcollege.sk.ca/programs/protectionemergency/firefighting/nfpa1001.html.